|Published: September 2021|
New Delhi. Lt Gen Gurmit Singh, a highly-decorated officer who retired from the Indian Army in February 2016 after nearly four decades of service, has been appointed the Governor of the north Indian state of Uttarakhand.
He held prestigious appointments of Deputy Chief of Army Staff, Adjutant General and Corps Commander of Strategic XV Corps that overlooks the Line of Control in Kashmir and was also handling operational and military strategic issues about China as Additional Director General of Military Operations.
Lt Gen Gurmit Singh has had associations with IDSA, the think of the Ministry of Defence, as well as the Indian Army’s think tank CLAWS. During his stint as an officer in the Army, he was part of numerous expert groups, joint working groups, annual dialogues and China study group meetings for over a decade. He visited China seven times for important military and diplomatic meetings on border or Line of Actual Control.
He also led a military delegation to Beijing, Urumchi and Shanghai and visited Pakistan twice for defence-related talks. He also did a training course at the National Defense University at Washington and Taipei.
The soft spoken officer with a firm handshake, Lt Gen Gurmit Singh served in Kashmir for a decade from 2005 to 2014. Peace, Stability and Prosperity of the people in the areas of his command were always his primary objectives, he often said.
Lt Gen Gurmit Singh studied at the Sainik School, Kapurthala, from 1967 to 1973 before joining the National Defence Academy (NDA) where young cadets are prepared for military career in the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force. There are so many heart-warming memories there, he says while talking about his alma mater. “The Teachers there were The Best.”
He fondly speaks of his Sainik School – India’s coveted primary educational institution to prepare children for military careers – observing: “The school was one place where I learned everything. Every prospective of being a soldier was learned there, be it discipline, drill or sports. The teachers created an environment to prepare us as a future leader.”
A great debater, amazing sportsperson, academically brilliant, always a topper, and every time an appointment holder is how Jawahar Dhawan, Lt Gen Singh’s classmate remembers him. “He was very clear from the beginning that he wanted to join the armed forces.”
Col Prashant Saxena, the current Principal of the school, told a newspaper: “In the past too, Saikapians have been rising to great heights in all walks of life, be it the Army, Navy, Air Force or civil services. With Lt Gen Gurmit Singh being appointed the Governor, it is another feather in the Sainik School’s cap. I find myself singularly privileged to be head of the institution. It is a matter of responsibility for me because when I see Saikapians doing so well, it reminds me of my duties.”
Lt Gen Gurmit Singh is the recipient of four Distinguished Service/Gallantry awards, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, and VSM.
A graduate of Defence Services Staff Course and National Defence College, he has M.Phils from Madras and Indore Universities on Defence. He researched on India-China Boundary Issue at the Institute of Chinese Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University during his study leave from the Army.
The General is currently pursuing PhD from Madras University on Smart Power for National Security Dynamics.